FISA Court Selects Lawyer Who Vehemently Denied FBI Misled FISA To Oversee FBI Reforms

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has triggered a wave of condemnations over the selection of David Kris, to oversee reforms of the FBI FISA process. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) presiding Judge James Boasberg, left, appointed Kris, a lawyer that the Washington Post describes as “highly controversial.
Critics have objected that Kris writes for Lawfare, a legal site widely criticized by conservative lawyers for its left-oriented, anti-Trump positions, as well as shows like Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. That objection strikes me as attenuated and unfair. The more serious allegations however is that Kris was one of the most public advocates for rejecting allegations of FBI abuse. In a city where you can throw a stick and hit ten lawyers, FISC went to someone who insisted that allegations of abuse were nonsense and should be rejected. If the court was seeking to assure the public, it has added a new controversy for those who see a “deep state” response to reforms.

Kris served under the Obama Administration and was assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division. He served as an associate deputy attorney general under George W. Bush from 2000 to 2003.

Kris  was one of the loudest critics of the Nunes memo which mirrored some of the findings of the Inspector General’s report: “The Nunes memo was dishonest. And if it is allowed to stand, we risk significant collateral damage to essential elements of our democracy.” He specifically denied the claim that he FBI misled the court about Christopher Steele – a claim that has now been proven to be true.

Kris also maintained that “These applications already substantially undermine the president’s narrative and that of his proxies, and it seems to me very likely that if we get below the tip of the iceberg and into the submerged parts and more is revealed, it’s going to get worse, not better. And it would potentially be dangerous to disclose additional information because some of this relates to ongoing investigations.”

He has also been a prominent critic of President Trump, claiming on Twitter that the “walls” were “closing in” on the President.

Amid the Trump-Russia investigation, Kris had written that Republicans had “falsely accused” the FBI of misleading the FISC in its wiretap applications to spy on the Trump campaign. He stated that “an allegation that was all but debunked by the special counsel’s report and the inspector general’s report,” the Daily Caller noted.

Kris on C-Span

Brookings Institution, which supports LawFare, has been font for experts declaring proven crimes and impeachable acts by Trump. I have often disagreed with the analysis offered by Brookings experts in these controversies. Yet, while I strongly disagree with a great deal of Kris’ analysis, much of that analysis is substantive and interesting. However, there are also these troubling and sweeping statements on the very merits of the dispute over FISA. I was particularly concerned with a March 1, 2018 essay for Lawfare, where Kris dismisses questions raised over the handling of the Carter Page investigation. I have written about the problems in that investigation, including a recent column where I called for an apology for Page over his abuse in the FISA system. Kris was one of those assuring the public that Page was clearly a legitimate target: “It’s disturbing that Page met that legal standard and that there was probable cause to conclude he was a Russian agent.” Those abuses (long denied by Kris) are at the heart of the reforms.

Given those positions, it is curious that Judge James Boasberg thought that he was the best lawyer to assure the public that reforms would be faithfully and thoroughly carried out.

69 thoughts on “FISA Court Selects Lawyer Who Vehemently Denied FBI Misled FISA To Oversee FBI Reforms”

  1. David Kris’ appointment would be comparable to the appointment of Butch Cassidy to the House Appropriations Committee Chairmanship, or Al Capone’s appointment to the cabinet as Secretary of Defense.

  2. This FISA court is illegal; the SCOTUS should have dismantled it the day after it came to exist. You don’t need more proof after this latest debacle. FISA court: “We had to burn the village (Constitution) to save it.”

    The same goes for Obama’s “Secret Kill List” he and every succeeding POTUS use to felony violate to indiscriminately murder US citizens, even minors, even on US soil (so said then-FBI Chief Mueller).

    If you have to burn the Constitution to save it, you killed it already and there’s nothing to save. Same with Lincoln’s cancelling habeas corpus and imprisoning journalists, etc. .

  3. So the under fire FISA Court gets to select it’s own prosecutor? Where did these fascists come from and who made them think they are constitutional legal part of our Constitutonal Republic?

    End comment. FISA remains dirty just like the dirty cops they enabled.

  4. The totally unconstitutional FISA court is controlled by the totally corrupt and unethical Justice Roberts. I expect nothing but the worst from that worthless piece of crap.

    1. Eventually, it won’t matter who gets elected President. That’s just a 4 year term, 8 years max.

      Instead, the country will be run by an oligarchy of bureaucrats and intelligence officers. NSA, FBI, CIA, EPA, IRS and other government entities. Unelected, yet look how much control they already have over the country.

      An FBI agent materially altered a CIA email to reverse its meaning, in order to spy upon Carter Page, and get a back door to spy upon Trump. If this is systemic…if Democrat activist have penetrated the decision levels of the intelligence community, as they have the EPA, and other government agencies, it won’t matter who wins the White House.

      Look at how much damage activists have managed against a lawfully elected Republican president. It’s been constant, for years. Look at how the IRS targeted conservative organizations. If they don’t want you to win, this is just the beginning of what they can do.

      Look at the damage CARB has done on the state level.

      We are slowly evolving from a republic to an oligarchy.

    2. I can’t believe i actually think this. As i wait for a plumber i watched Iranian risking their own life in Iran draw a picture of the American flag on the groups. Students are standing guard so no one walks on it. It came to me. Trump has been saying since the beginning Drain the swamp. We now have students throughout the world waving our flag saying basically saying the same thing. Students in Iran. Students in Hong Kong. Students in EUrope. France. ..STudents in the Phillipines. Trump is suceesgul in exposing the Deep State. They see his sucess and that gave them the encouragement. .Think about it. His movement is global

      1. Anonymous:

        I am so hopeful, and worried, for these protestors.

        I don’t think the Hong Kong protestors can win against China. The UK sold them out. Great Britain was granted Hong Kong land in perpetuity. It did a 100 year lease on the rest. When that lease ran out, it was trying to move away from its colonial history, so it gave all of it to China. All of Hong Kong, essentially a Western country in Asia, to Communist China. And it didn’t grant Hong Kong residents full UK citizenship. If it was going to throw the country away, it should have given its citizens the option of leaving for the UK, with full citizenship. Hong Kong is the closest to a Western country that there is in Asia.

        In the rush to social justice, the UK did not consider what this would mean to the human beings of Hong Kong. Hong Kong should have become part of the UK.

        I would have never thought that Iranian protestors had any chance against the regime. They have been cracking down on dissent for decades. However, since they shot down their own passenger plane, and then lied about it, more and more people are turning against the government. There is a history of revolutions and coups in the country. Will the protestors win out?

        Whenever there is a revolution, it’s the faction that has the most organization and support that takes control. There are many young people in Iran who long for a more free, Western way of life. Are they using this time to organize? Otherwise, there could be a coup uniting different factions, but the pro democracy group might be overpowered by just another extremist group seizing power. Again.

  5. This will tell you the FISA judges are frauds. Time to disband the court.

    No clue what sort of reforms would clean up federal law enforcement. Am confident that nothing will be done because Congress accomplishes nothing that doesn’t involve tossing bon bons at their clientele.

    1. I think returning to a strict examination system for recruitment and promotion in federal civilian employment and instituting a system which would allow discretionary termination of civil servants if three persons in their chain-of-command concurred might help. It’s important that civil servants be selected through impersonal processes, and that means timely examinations. They should not be effectively granted tenure in their positions.

    2. Institute transparent compensation in federal employment. In such a system, compensation per worker could not exceed (say) 120% of compensation per worker in the private sector. Every employee would receive a ‘stated compensation’. Their perquisites, retirement benefits, insurance benefits, and portable training would all be financed out of that ‘stated compensation’. There would be no ’employers portion’. Their pay stubs would have about 15 lines of with-holdings on them. Retirement programs would be ‘defined contribution’ programs. Also, the opportunity to earn early-retirement credits would be limited to uniformed protective service personnel and manual construction workers. Persons in such categories would earn 0.3 months of early retirement credit for each month worked. They’d stop earning it if they moved into the plainclothes ranks, but would retain the sum of credits earned. Federal workers would usually retire around the same time everyone else does, with at most 10 years of early-retirement credit for employees earning such.

    3. Scarify the federal penal code. There are about three-dozen distinct areas where federal penal law might operate. If it’s not in those areas, it’s not the federal government’s business. Also, the penalties specified in federal law should be calibrated to resemble the median of state codes given a roughly comparable crime.

    4. In the course of that, and in regard to regulatory matters as well, restore a more restrictive understanding of what constitutes ‘inter-state commerce’ (and foreign commerce). If funds are transferred from one jurisdiction to an end point in another, that’s interstate commerce. If a financial concern domiciles funds in multiple jurisdictions, that’s interstate commerce. If goods are shipped from one jurisdiction to another, that’s interstate commerce. If a service provider in one jurisdiction transacts business with a customer domiciled in another, that’s interstate commerce. If a service provider in one jurisdiction provides food, fuel, or lodgings to people who are presumptively travelers from another, that’s interstate commerce. If a service provider provides shipping and transportation services on routes which cross jurisdictional lines, that’s interstate commerce. If an employer in one jurisdiction recruits labor domiciled in another, that’s interstate commerce. If an employer has workers at sites in multiple jurisdictions, that’s interstate commerce. If an corporation is chartered by one jurisdiction but employs people in another, that’s interstate commerce. If a person seeks to register a piece of virtual property recognized in multiple jurisdictions, that’s interstate commerce. If a person or corporation deposits waste on land, in water, or in the air and it is presumptively carried across jurisdictional lines, that’s interstate commerce. NB, transactions are interstate and subject to federal review. That an actor has engaged in an interstate transaction does not render all of his transactions subject to review. Serving someone lunch in a diner is not an interstate transaction, unless the location of the diner is such that his custom is presumably composed of travelers. If the transaction is not inter-state, it should not be subject to federal review.

    5. Require federal prosecutors to disclose to jurors in federal trials plea offers to defendants.

    6. End unqualified immunity for federal prosecutors and judges.

    7. Radically simplify the federal tax code.

    8. Add ‘sunset’ provisions to the process of generating federal regulations.

  6. This is one more example of the deep state that exists that until recently i was skeptial of. The list is now the O’bama administation. The CIA, the Department of State, the Justice Department. Fisa and the top brass at FBI. .i think and pray Durham will bring closure and trust back.

  7. I’ve been wondering for years why the FISA courts have not appointed someone to look into abuses. If we knew nothing besides the fact that the Steele document was repeatedly certified as reliable long after it’s author himself stated (publicly and under oath) that it was unverified, shouldn’t that have been enough? I understand that some processes take time, but now, when it seems they have been forced to act by information made public, this is the man they appoint to lead the reform effort? So I guess I affirm that I am one of the many who has some doubts that the FISA courts are serious about preventing this from happening again.

  8. The swamp is deep and everytime proof shows illegal activities we find the swamp is even deeper than we thought before.

    Jail to those involved is the only way to at least partly reassure the public. The selection of Kriss is telling us that the swamp is Lord and King and that we are nothing but pawns for their personal use.

  9. The FISC has previous experience with Kris rebutting their IG reports. He’s been creating plausible deniability on their wrongdoing for years.

      1. … and the Deep State wins again in an effort to conceal their unholy alliances with the sole purpose to undermine and overthrow a duly elected American president! Caveat Emptor America!!!

  10. It strikes you as “attenuated and unfair” to state that someone affiliated with Lawfare is leftwing and anti-Trump?

    Do you not see the irony in the very person you’re writing about? He’s in total denial that the FBI intentionally lied to the FISC to spy on Trump and attempt to overthrow him after he won.

    What more do you need to see the truth about these dangerous, corrupt lawyers?

  11. “The more serious allegations however is that Kris was one of the most public advocates for rejecting allegations of FBI abuse.”
    Given past performance, who says Judge James Boasberg is a bright guy? He bought the “pee dossier” didn’t he? He’s another swamp gator protecting his own turf while running the all-too-ready to be duped FIS(T)A(R) Chamber. Ban that Court, fire FBI CYA Wray and let’s start over. How could we do worse than a reformer who does not believe the swamp needs reforming. Oh and how come the very court that intruded on our liberties gets a free pass? If you want to start impeachment season, here’s a target rich environment to get your bag limit.

  12. FISC continues in their questionable anti Trump ways. Kris needs to be replaced ASAP by FISC.

    If they allow this appointment to continue it will show they have no interest in cleaning up the system.

    FISC needs reform along with the FBI and the Intelligence Agencies.

    Roberts, who I believe overseas FISC needs to take immediate action and clean it up

  13. Come on Professor;
    This is just another instance of the Swamp protecting itself. You are a reasonably objective fellow. You do balk however, at acknowledging the extent to which the Deep State has permeated what is left of our government. Please, reason more with your intellect than your heart.

      1. Why ? Nunes assessment was proven 100 percent correct by the I.G. Report. Do you not keep up with these things ? Schiff was the one proven 100 percent wrong.In other words, Schiff was in the gang of 8, he had the same info Nunes had, so he was lying, as was Schummer, and get this, the FISA Judges knew all this too, they should have come down on these guys way back when it started. They were spying on Conservatives, why do you think Holder had discs delivered to him ? He was using the NSA Data base to come against the Tea Party.

  14. Aside from a clear bias demonstrated in his writings, his inability to critically think and deductively reason should have been cause enough to assure he would never be appointed to such a job. It is truly disgusting that he proffered a totally unsubstantiated opinion, for which he had no real, demonstrative, or documentary evidence. Who could ever trust someone so lacking in basic common sense, intelligence or character?

    1. “Aside from a clear bias demonstrated in his writings, his inability to critically think and deductively reason should have been cause enough to assure he would never be appointed to such a job.”
      To the contrary, it guaranteed it. You wanna a competent or an incompetent cop when you have something to hide?

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